Regardless of whether this policy experiment works or not, one thing is certain: there will be people paid to oversee this policy. There will be government administrators, meaning there will be more government employees. Of course they will also have benefits, and retirement plans. All of this is to be expected, but it also means that if this healthcare plan does not work, it will be almost impossible to unravel.
Should we go into healthcare – or any legislative attempt – with skepticism? Perhaps we should be optimistic, but what is great about American policy is that it can change, and change back again if it needs to. If the federal government lays out a healthcare plan that gobbles up one-sixth of the economy, then it is safe to say that we should have an exit strategy if – after a few years – it proves inefficient.
The people protesting are within their rights to at least, respectfully, question and disagree. Those who are appalled by the protests seemed awfully quiet when the Republican National Convention – an “invitation only” event, mind you – gets interrupted by protesters constantly. (Not one conservative has disrupted, or attempted to disrupt, the Democratic National Convention inside their chosen venue in any recent year.) Suddenly, dissent and protesting seems less patriotic in the last eight months than it has been in the last eight years.
The Republican Party dropped the ball when it came to healthcare, and they had all the time and votes in their pockets to push good legislation through. They should have put legislation together that covered children. There is no reason to not cover children in this time in our history. A policy like that would have made the current president’s plan look like too much government – which it might be. But when his plan stands next to nothing, then it looks as though he is at least making the effort.
There are people that are the most vulnerable, children and seniors, for example, and these are populations that should be covered. People that are in between jobs should also be covered to some extent until they find appropriate work. But to tinker with what is already working for others might not be necessary. Until then, people are going to protest.
Can We Encourage a Culture of Less Sugar?
Governor Paterson walked away from some of his ideas about raising revenue through taxes earlier in the year. His idea to tax full sugar beverages was lambasted – not in this column, however. Raising taxes does not always raise revenue as much as freeing up the economy from taxes does. But the idea of zeroing in on full sugar beverages should not have been abandoned. We will soon either have government-sponsored health insurance, or some kind of hybrid that means that you and I will be paying for a lot of other people’s healthcare.
I don’t drink sugar beverages. I make my own juice from carrots, apples, and beets. Strange and disgusting, I know. But should I be paying for the healthcare of people that take no precaution at all?
While in the south this weekend, I went to a large supermarket. I was away from home, so I could not juice anything. But I bought a papaya anyway. The person at the register had no idea what it was.
“What is that green thing?” she asked me. “It’s fruit,” I told her. “There’s like a whole section of it here.” This was a young woman in her twenties or thirties, and looked as though she wouldn’t be able to identify many vegetables even if she needed to.
Sodas – loaded with high fructose corn syrup – do not dissolve into the body the way sodas used to when they were made with real sugar. This is raising our rates of diabetes by leaps and bounds. We have no real legislation that even tries to address this, yet politicians step over each other to regulate tobacco. Removing the sale of full-sugar drinks from all public buildings should be a first step.